UK Border Agency International Operations and Visas - BETA


Nov 30, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


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11 October 2012

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UK Border Agency


UK Border Agency International Operations and visas is the department
responsible for visa issues overseas at diplomatic missions.

2,400 staff in 130 countries around the world

Over 100 nationalities require visas

Over 300 places to enrol biometrics

162 VACs in 106 countries and overseas territories

59 decision making centres in 54 countries and overseas territories.

UK Border Agency International
Operations and Visas (background)


Commercial Partners

Globally we work with VFS and CSC (World bridge) who run our visa
application centres (VACs).

The VACs play no part in the decision making process

The VACs collect fees and input the applicant data, including the
enrolment of biometrics

They also deliver applications to the visa office and collect them

when the decision has been made.


Visa application process

normally take
48 hours

“Hub and spoke”

improves efficiency

and consistency

Application made

online or at Visa


Centre (VAC)


sent to
visa section

or “hub”

Biometric and

biographical details

checked in UK

Further checks

conducted on key


Entrance Clearance


makes decision

with all information



must attend

VAC or visa

section to

provide biometrics

Vignette added

and passport

returned to VAC

Visa granted

Visa refused

Passport and key

documents returned

to VAC

Right of Appeal

PBS cases)

Admin review

(PBS cases)


The UK Border Agency’s position is (and has been for many years) that any
visitor wishing to undertake a course of study (whether it be recreational or
academic) must apply as a student visitor.

Please note;

It is not the case that a general visitor who is admitted as a tourist, changes
their intentions once in the UK and then seeks to enrol on a course of study
can do so, since this was not the category under which they were admitted.

We are aware that it is difficult to identify different categories of visitors who
are non
visa nationals since they all get the same endorsement in their

Some officers will write in the passport ‘SV’ or ‘GV’ but it’s not a
legal requirement for them to do so.

Visitor visas review


Student visitors

Visitors are not permitted to undertake a course of study without
permission. Visitors who intend to undertake a short course or period of
study may apply as a
student visitor

For short courses up to six months

No permission to work

Extension not permitted in the UK.

Accreditation can be from one of the previously recognised bodies e.g.
BAC, Accreditation UK, ABLS and ASIC


Extended Student Visitors

In January 2011, the UK government introduced the Extended Student Visitor

route, targeted specifically at the English language sector.

For students on 100% English language courses only

For courses over 6 months but not exceeding 11 months

The visa is valid for 11 months.

Students must apply for a visa prior to travelling to the UK

this includes
all non
visa nationals.

Other requirements and restrictions

same as 6 month student visitor


Applications for consecutive student visitors

Can you apply for consecutive SVVs?

There is nothing stopping students applying for a second SVV. The ECO does,
however, need to be satisfied with the student’s whole application including their
reasons for coming back into the UK as a visitor

: Students must clearly explain their intentions to the ECO; if the ECO
questions the student’s intentions, it can be grounds for refusal

: As with all applications, students must provide evidence to
support claims made in an application. An application MUST be well
with documentation.

The final decision on a consecutive SVV is down to both the student, by providing
relevant evidence and documents, and how the ECO interprets the situation.


Website and contact (International Group)

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updates as they happen:

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